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Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT

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Where things either live or die!

Feb 2, 2009

Greenhouse Happenings- February

In early December, I read on a lot of garden blogs that January is the month to start Perennials in the greenhouse, to get them off to a good start. Along with some other things, I decided to start a few and see how it goes.

We have had a weird winter and keeping the greenhouse at a temperature that is acceptable at night has been a bit of a challenge. Some days there was sun, a lot more than we usually see this time of year, but as soon as 3pm hit the temps dropped quickly. Going back and forth opening the door, then closing it and turning the little heater on has been a chore, but it will be worth it- I have learned a lot this year and I’m using the greenhouse more and more every year.

My goal for the near future is to use natural resources to heat it- go totally solar. I have found a lot of great ideas online that will work for a small greenhouse and plan to put those ideas into action before fall hits- assuming I still have the greenhouse up, that is. For now, we’ll see if I can get everything through the rest of winter and what might be a cold spring, for all I know :).

Last month, I started some lettuce and some Mizuna. This is the first year I’ve tried Mizuna, so I’ll be sure to let you know if we like it. All these will go into the cold frame when they are a little bigger. They were started in micro soil blocks- but I learned quickly that Mizuna needs to be started in the 2” soil blocks because it germinates and grows very fast! I started the following greens to go into the cold frame.

Lettuce- ‘Salad Bowl Blend’, ‘Red Star’, and a new variety ‘Breen’.
Mizuna- purple.

Here they are after moving them up to the 2” soil blocks.

I used a lot more compost to make these blocks than they had in the micro size and they will stay in the 2” until they are bigger and can go into the cold frame.
*Note: These pictures zoom on mouse over :).

Below are a few flowers I started.

Flax- Blue: started 1/14 and moved to 2” soil block on 1/26.
Nemophelia- ‘Baby Blue Eyes’: started 1/14 to 2” block on 1/27 (I only got one :(
Shasta Daisy- ‘Little Princess’: Started on 1/16, moved to 2” pots on 1/27.
Hollyhock- Annual ‘Indian Spring Mix’: Started in 2” soil blocks (large seeds) on 1/16, moved to 4” pot on 1/27. (only 4 germinated)
Lobelia- Annual ‘White Lady’: Started 1/19- these are still really tiny, so they’ll stay in the micro soil blocks for a while.
Lobelia- ‘Trailing Sapphire’: Started 1/19- same as above.
Forget-Me-Not- pink variety: Biennial started on 1/14, to 2” block on 1/28.
Here is the Lobelia seedlings and behind it us a Holyhock. The Lobelia are really tiny- I hope you can see them!

I plan to start more, but I’m afraid of running out of room. Hopefully I can hold things off in the 2” size block or they will have to go to the 4”, which will take up more room! With the temps being so low, growth will be slower.

I will slowly wean them off of artificial light on a daily basis, and will be starting some more soon as time and space allow :)

This week I really need to start more greens that will be ready to plop in the cold frame when the ones I have now, which are almost ready to go in, have been harvested. For now I’m just waiting, patiently (ha, ha), until spring!

Happy Gardening!



  • gardenerprogress/Catherine

    Wow have you been busy! Everything is looking so good! I'm glad you're having such great success.
    You've done a lot of work on your blog and it looks great! :) Still think you need to have a blog to help us bloggers who don't know what they are doing!

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Thanks so much for the compliments! Looks like your comment made it through- I'm hoping the blog-wide problem has been solved! Happy Gardening :)

  • Gardeness

    Everything looks great, Tessa. I so wish we had a little green house. That would be fun.

  • Northern Shade

    You have a nice blue theme going with your seedlings. I love the pretty blue flowers of flax and the soft ferny foliage. I grew Nemophelia 'Baby Blue Eyes' in the past, and it looked good in the garden. Every year I grow Lobelia in the garden, and love the way it blooms all season. It looks like you are getting a great start with your greenhouse.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    So glad you stopped by. Yes, the greenhouse is a lot of fun- work, but fun work! I've been fortunate this year that I've had the time to do more with it. Some day I want a much larger one :)

    Northern Shade,

    I love blue in the garden and really want a lot more. I wasn't happy that I only got 1 Nemophelia! I plan to try some more this week :) Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kathleen

    You are really making the most of your greenhouse Tessa. I always wondered how you kept those hobby type greenhouses heated. Do you have a space heater? Whatever you do, I sure wish I had one too. Look at all the little seedlings. So much fun. It will be another month before I start mine but looking at your first frost date, it looks like you're a month ahead of me.

  • Titania

    You have got a lot of seedlings going. This will be a wonderful garden come spring and summer. You will harvest arm fulls of vegetables and flowers. Great!

  • Jan (Thanks For 2 Day)

    You are one busy little bee, Tessa! You've already planted up a storm and it's just the beginning of Feb! I need to take some of your energy and get moving here! No greenhouse, but I can do plenty of other things...and I have a lot of plans: now to get started!!
    I'll be checking to see the progress as these continue to grow!

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Kathleen, Yes, I would encourage anyone to get a greenhouse, or build one- they are a lot of fun. I use a small oiled filled/electric heater and it really doesn't cost much. I plan on going totally solar by fall- assuming I don't move and still have the greenhouse up.

    Titania, Thanks for stopping by. A lot of these will go to friends and neighbors, but we will be enjoying some too. Can't wait to start my tomatoes this year!

    Jan, yes, busy is the word. So much fun though. Soon a lot of these will go into the cold frame. Yes, there is something to do year round when you're a gardener- even if it's stuff we don't really love doing :) Hope all is well with you and happy gardening!

  • Jan

    I am so jealous of your greenhouse. I would love to have one, but dear hubby keeps reminding me of all our pine trees and how a greenhouse wouldn't last long with the falling branches.

    Always Growing

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Hello Jan! Yes, pine trees and their falling branches would be a problem- maybe a cold frame would work for you?

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